The land of Egypt [is] before thee
To choose what part of it he should judge most suitable and agreeable to his father and brethren: in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell, in the
land of Goshen let them dwell;
as is requested; and which was, as Pharaoh here suggests, the best part of the land, the most fertile and fruitful, and the fittest for cattle, being full of pastures through the river Nile and the canals of it, and Goshen being the most fertile portion in the land of Rameses, as in ( Genesis 47:11 ) ; this, Dr. Shaw observes F11, could be no other than what lay within two or three leagues at the most from the Nile, because the rest of the Egyptian Arabia, which reaches beyond the influence of this river to the eastward, is a barren inhospitable wilderness: and if thou knowest [any] man of activity among them;
strong in body, and of great parts, and endowments of mind, and of great skill, and diligence, and industry in the management of flocks and herds: then make them rulers over my cattle;
or "rulers of cattle over those that are mine" F12: that is, over his shepherds, to take care that they do their work well and faithfully: from whence it appears that Pharaoh had flocks and herds and shepherds; and therefore it cannot be thought that the Egyptians in those times abstained from eating of animals, or that all shepherds, without exception, were an abomination to them, only foreign ones that lived on spoil and plunder, and made excursions into their country for such purposes: the office he assigned to men of skill and industry was like that which Doeg the Edomite was in, who was the chief of the herdsmen of Saul, ( 1 Samuel 21:7 ) .
F11 Travels, p. 306.
F12 (yl rva le hnqm yrv) "magistros pecuariae super illos, qui sunt mihi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Schmidt and Answorth.